Being Present with our Kids
While tweaking my timeline on Facebook the other day, I came across an old video I posted more than 4 years ago when my son was only 5. He was sitting on one end of the couch, leaning on our (then) puppy. I was on the other end. Holding an apple in one hand, he twisted the other in the long and shaggy fur of that dog. He was looking right at me and I was video-taping our talk with a small handheld camera that I love to have close by.
With a smile that reached his eyes, he told me he had a loose tooth. I asked if I could touch it and he looked at me sideways and told me not to pull. My hand appeared on camera as I gently wiggled that bottom baby tooth. The puppy jumped up to sneak a lick on the apple. My sweet boy broke out into a giggle, free and fun. I laughed, too.
That video is all of three minutes long but it encapsulates the relationship I have with my son. I love how relaxed he was, how quick he was to smile. And I love that we had that time. I love that I sat with him to talk about his tooth and that we watched the dog try to catch a snack. It is not the video that I so adore. No, it is the moment itself.
It is a reminder to me. We often hear from the world around us that we must provide for our children big, BIG things. We are expected to offer expensive vacations and floods of material goods. We hear from others that we must know the right words, share meaningful wisdom, and know, at all times, what we should be doing. While there may be nuggets of truth in some of that, there is something more important to see.
Our children need us.
They need us present with them. They need us to look at them and touch them and hold them and hear them. They need us to know about their adventures and about their dreams. They need us to wiggle their loose teeth and to laugh at the dog. They need us to revel in their very being just because they are here. They need us to remember and to remind them that they are made in God’s image and are gifts to us. They need our attention and our direction, our discipline and our delight. And it does not matter at all how old our children are; all of this is needed, just the same.
Watching a video of my 5-year-old son helped me remember this truth. Life with our children is not so much about doing as about being with them today. Because all of those moments we share together add up to a history shared. And there will never be a material good or an expensive trip that can substitute for who you are in the simple life of your child.
Our children need us with them. Today. Right now. To see and to laugh and to be. This matters most of all.
This book speaks to the way that faith is translated to the next generation. This book offers encouragement for adults to step into a mentoring role to equip the youth of the church for service in God’s kingdom. It is a powerful reminder of the importance of making your faith visible and getting involved in the lives of others. Every church youth director should read this book.
This book by David Lambert is an excellent resource for helping you think thoughtfully about how you celebrate Christmas. In the midst of a consumer focused society we need to approach our celebrations thoughtfully to keep our celebrations focused on Christ. This book offers creative suggestions for making your holiday celebrations meaningful.